Oysters on the grill

[New Orleans, LA] — In my newly-adopted hometown of New Orleans, it seems you can attend a different festival every weekend.  From Jazz to Jambalaya; you name it, most likely there’s a festival dedicated to it.

So naturally, I’d be remiss in my duties as the Travelin’ Gringo if I didn’t attend the New Orleans Seafood Festival. This weekend’s three-day event (9/9 through 9/11) is the fifth annual celebration of Louisiana seafood and a fundraiser for the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation. Admission is free.

“This is gonna be one of the best we’ve ever had,” Ewell Smith, Executive Director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (the event’s title sponsor) told me on Saturday. “The weather is unbelievable, and it’s shaping up to be a great weekend.”

As one who never misses an opportunity to sample the ocean’s bounty — particularly Gulf oysters — I’d been looking forward to this, and I wasn’t disappointed.  In Lafayette Square, near the French Quarter, about 20 vendors offered up their finest seafood creations, everything from chargrilled oysters to shrimp remoulade at prices of between $4 and $8 per dish.

Clouds of smoke drew me to grilling oysters at Drago’s Seafood Restaurant’s booth. For 8 bucks, I got a half-dozen charbroiled oysters — freshly-shucked, grilled, coated with garlic butter, and sprinkled with parmesan and romano cheeses — believe me, as delicious as it sounds.

Next up, an oyster po-boy from Acme Oyster House. Also 8 bucks; a bonanza of delicious fried oysters, shredded lettuce and tomato on a fresh french roll. Splash on a few drops of spicy Tabasco sauce and it’s heaven on a bun!

If fresh Louisiana seafood isn’t enough, there’s plenty of live music: while I was there, Javier Gutierrez & Viváz, one of about a dozen musical acts, belted out a lively version of “Guantanamera” that had the crowd dancing.

To top the day off, I purchased a strawberry snowball (a New Orleans staple: shaved ice drenched with flavored syrup — the perfect treat for a summery day), and strolled through the arts and crafts vendor area.

“We get visitors from all over the country and the world,” Ewell Smith of the Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board commented. “It’s a chance for us to showcase Louisiana seafood. People come here and realize our seafood is fine and hopefully they’ll return home and spread that message.”

The festival continues Sunday (9/11) through 5:30 pm, so there’s still time to hop on your bike if you’re a Nawlins local and head on over to Lafayette Square — 544 St. Charles Ave, N.O.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

New Orleans Seafood Festival: http://www.neworleansseafoodfestival.com/

Louisiana Hospitality Foundation: http://www.louisianahospitalityfoundation.org

Drago’s Seafood Restaurant: http://www.dragosrestaurant.com/

Acme Oyster House: http://www.acmeoyster.com/

Strawberry Snowball

Soft shell crab po-boy


About Glen Abbott
Glen Abbott is a New Orleans-based travel writer & photographer. He specializes in writing about motorcycle touring and travel, and his work appears regularly in Harley-Davidson's HOG magazine, American Iron, and other publications.

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23 Comments
  1. Millie Cooper

    March 15, 2013

    I’ve never been a big oyster fan, but you’ve so deliciously described them at the festival that I’ve got a craving. Fun times in New Orleans — enjoy your new hometown!
    Millie Cooper recently posted..Top Realtors in Murrieta CA

  2. Laurel

    September 20, 2011

    I had never heard of an oyster po-boy before reading this, I like that the festival proceeds go to a good cause as well.
    Laurel recently posted..Photojourney to Oktoberfest Parade

  3. Claudia

    September 16, 2011

    That strawberry snowball and soft shell crab po-boy look soo good right now! My mouth is watering like crazy! I don’t have anything like that where I live! So jealous!
    Claudia recently posted..Disney Costumes

  4. Grace

    September 15, 2011

    Why do you have to remind me of what I’m missing! Can you potentially fedex me an oyster po boy for my birthday? hehehe! It was so great to meet you guys at NOLA!! I hope you guys can visit us in San Diego.
    Grace recently posted..A no-nonsense guide to first time camping in the U.S.

    • Travelin' Gringo

      September 15, 2011

      Hey Grace, somehow I don’t think the oyster po-boy would be the same, even with overnight shipping… but hope you have a great birthday!!

  5. basketball

    September 14, 2011

    I don’t know if I’d order fried oysters if I saw soft-shelled crab on the menu, that’s for sure. My favorite! Thanks!. :P
    basketball recently posted..racing games for boys

  6. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    September 13, 2011

    I cannot believe I have never had oysters. Must try them the next chance I get.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Elevator Brewery Tour in Columbus, Ohio

  7. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    September 12, 2011

    I’ve tried liking oysters, but dangit… I just don’t think they taste good! I’ll take that snow cone off your hands, though. ;)
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..How much does it cost to live in London?

  8. InsideJourneys

    September 11, 2011

    I don’t like oysters but I see a lot of other things I’d enjoy.
    The food looks fabulous! Thanks for your reporting.
    InsideJourneys recently posted..Innocence Lost – 9/11 Remembered

    • Travelin' Gringo

      September 12, 2011

      I focused on oysters ’cause they’re my favorites, but there was LOTS of other seafood here!

  9. I’ve never even HEARD of cooked oysters! I am not such a fan of raw oysters, although Darling Man introduced me to the sinus-clearing wonder of raw oysters steeped in wasabi and soy sauce.
    I don’t know if I’d order fried oysters if I saw soft-shelled crab on the menu, that’s for sure. My favourite!
    Looking forward to more New Orleans posts.
    Barbara – The Dropout Diaries recently posted..Meet The Dropouts – Food Writer Robyn Eckhardt

  10. jenjenk

    September 11, 2011

    darn! i love the Oysters in NO, especially when paired with an abita beer!!
    jenjenk recently posted..Photo Friday: 10 Years Post 9/11

  11. Cathy Sweeney

    September 11, 2011

    I’ve never been a big oyster fan, but you’ve so deliciously described them at the festival that I’ve got a craving. Fun times in New Orleans — enjoy your new hometown!
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Reflections on September 11th

    • Travelin' Gringo

      September 11, 2011

      Thanks Cathy, it’s a tough job to eat all those oysters, but someone’s gotta do it!

  12. You’re making this (mostly) vegetarian guy very uncomfortable with talk like this:

    I got a half-dozen charbroiled oysters — freshly-shucked, grilled, coated with garlic butter, and sprinkled with parmesan and romano cheeses — believe me, as delicious as it sounds.

    I wouldn’t just fall of the wagon for this, I would jump, tuck and roll. :)

    • Travelin' Gringo

      September 12, 2011

      Hey, you could be vegetarian and still eat fish! Would that be wrong?

      I’m just sayin’.

  13. I’ll definitely take one (maybe two) of those soft shell crab po-boys! Yum!
    Annette | Bucket List Journey recently posted..A Romantic Dinner Alone at the BLD | Arizona

  14. inka

    September 11, 2011

    It makes me weep with joy. I love, love, love oysters and these surroundings are just so fabulous. I have to admit though, that being European I have difficulties acquiring the taste for fried oysters or Oysters Rockefeller, but I will never give up practising. How is your new life in New Orleans?
    inka recently posted..Where to spend Christmas on your own

    • Travelin' Gringo

      September 11, 2011

      Hi Inka, when you get good fried oysters, they’re delicious — crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside — definitely a “guilty pleasure.”
      New Orleans is great — the culture here is so interesting and there is lots to see and do.

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